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CourseTalk in Colombia: Learning the ropes

Imagine a classroom of three dozen 7-year-olds. Now imagine them speaking a mile a minute in a language you only partially understand. Add in the fact that they’re dashing to you from their seats every few seconds to hand you candy and tell you about their relatives who live in the U.S. Plus, the classroom’s windows and doors are all open while another class plays right outside. Welcome to the world of teaching English in a Colombian elementary school! Every day is a mix of excitement and chaos, progress and frustration, fun and hard work.

Learning the ropes

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CourseTalk in Colombia: First week of class

Colombia Primary School
Greetings from Colombia! I’ve been in the country for three weeks now and officially have one full week of teaching under my belt. The big surprise is that I’m not teaching high school as expected; instead, I’m the first teacher with Colombia’s bilingualism program to work in a primary school! (They were right when they warned me that Colombia is all about staying flexible.) Even though I miss my colleagues at CourseTalk, I’m very excited about this opportunity to impact Colombia’s youngest learners and expand a program that’s a huge priority for the Ministry of Education.

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New series: CourseTalk in Colombia

Just a few weeks ago, I was at CourseTalk’s Silicon Valley headquarters communicating with users and spreading the word about the largest source for online-course reviews. Next week, I’ll be in Bogotá learning how to teach English along with 300 of Colombia’s other newest teachers. It’s quite a lifestyle change — and it was all inspired by my work at CourseTalk.


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Mentorship and micro-courses make MOOCs interactive

When MOOCs – massive open online courses – first made headlines, it was partly their size that attracted the media’s attention. One-hundred thousand students in one course, 150,000 in another. But massive doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, it doesn’t work for most people, as seen in precipitous drop-out rates over the run of most courses. Now innovators in the world of online learning are creating micro experiences for MOOC students, including small-group mentorship and limited size courses. What they’re learning could hold the key to realizing the transformative potential of MOOCs.

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Would free college tuition change MOOCs?

By Shea Drefs and Allen Taylor

free ed

Donald Trump wants to reduce the Department of Education’s influence, Ted Cruz promises to eliminate the department altogether and Hillary Clinton is committed to no-loan tuition. As radical as the ideas of these U.S. presidential candidates are, Bernie Sanders’ plan for higher education may be the most radical of all; the Vermont senator wants to get rid of tuition at U.S. public colleges and universities. If he were elected and successful, how would free college affect Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)?

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